Recycling bogglement

by , under life, o tempora

We were almost out of plastic recycling bags (bags to recycle plastic in; they’re made of plastic themselves too, of course, but that’s not the defining feature) so I ordered some more. Boggling, as always, at the website of the waste processing and recycling company, Circulus-Berkel. It used to be plain Circulus but they joined with a similar company in Zutphen and surroundings, where the Berkel is the local river.

First it wants me to choose my town from a dropdown list. That gets me the local recycling news: they’re going to update the app that I only ever use to check whether I’ve remembered the collection date right. It does a lot of other things as well, mostly “what goes where” which I can do without having to check a list for every piece of waste, but until now it wasn’t possible to order recycling bags with it, and it will be! Not with this update, though, but before the end of the year.

When I click “Online services” (after hesitating a bit, as I always do, about “Customer service”) it gives a dual login screen: either enter your postcode and house number for simple things like ordering recycling bags, or log in to your account for simple things like ordering recycling bags, as well as more complex things like reporting your recycling pass missing. (They shouldn’t call both things “login”, it’s confusing!)

Note that whereas it’s got my correct address (which I’ve obscured) in the upper right corner, probably stored in a cookie (so why do they still need me to give the postcode and house number they already know?), it offers me the Apeldoorn newsletter at the bottom.

After giving it the information they already know, I get a screen where I can choose what I want to do, like “order recycling bags”.

I can say a lot of things about the design of this page — what a waste of whitespace! — but that’s not what I’m ranting about, so I’ll refrain. There’s nothing strange about the functionality. The only somewhat strange thing on this page is the typo in “KGA” which is apparently short for Klein Chemisch Afval, “KCA”, household chemicals and paint and things like that.

But then this!

Discerning minds will notice that I’ve switched to Chromium for the screenshot because Firefox doesn’t show the radio buttons, grr, though it’s still possible to use them. There’s another dropdown list in which the thing I want has already been selected, but I could now change my mind and select a different service from that list! I’ll translate the wonderful text in the grey box:

Recycling bags Deventer
Choose from number (max 1) 1. Then choose the first date. From that date on the bags will be made shipping-ready and shipped. You will receive the bags a few business days after that date.

Select date

[list of dates]


There is NO WAY to choose a number. There used to be, with ‘1’ filled in and NO WAY to change that, so why have it? And if you stop having it, why keep the confusing text? They give four different dates and preselect the first, though it’s perfectly possible to pick another one. Why give a choice and then tell you what to choose? Why give a choice at all, seeing that the package goes through the letterbox and if someone orders some they’ll probably want them as soon as possible? Why not have a simple “I want new bags” button to press and say “Thank you for your order, we’ll deliver the bags a few business days after [date]”?

Next time I’ll try to choose another date (if I remember to order recycling bags well before they run out) and see what happens.

Now they need my name, phone number, recycling pass number and email address; there’s also a non-required box for “explanation” but there’s nothing to explain, I just want my recycling bags already! Still, I think they’re asking too much: it’s reasonable that they want my email address to send the confirmation to, and probably the pass number to make sure I’m entitled to the bags in the first place, but I don’t want them to phone me, and anyway what would they phone me about? If there’s any snag, like the factory that makes the recycling bags went out of business and they can’t deliver, they can always send me another email. (They don’t actually say which fields are required, but when I left one blank I did get an error message.)

The subject line of the email confirmation is “Uw intake bij Circulus Berkel” (“Your intake with Circulus Berkel” — note no hyphen, though the From line does have one) as if I’m going into hospital or something. Why not a less loaded subject, like “Confirmation of your recycling bags order”? I’ll put that down to nerdview.

  1. irina

    It took them 8 days to actually make the bags shipping-ready and ship them. They fell through the letterbox just now, Tuesday the 21st.


Leave a Reply

  • This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.